Another Reason to Love Bushwick or Surprise, the Post Office is Not so Bad

Pork bbq kebabs (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

Besides the fact that the L train just wasn’t running this weekend (I’m sorry, New York City, what were you thinking?), I keep finding more reasons to love my new hood. These are the last warm days of the year, and now that the park has reopened post a sweeping up of the fallen trees and debris from the tornados, there is a comfortable amount of foot traffic strolling past my still open windows to remind me that I should go outside and eat ice cream, dammit, before the city is covered in an interminable blanket of snow, slush, misery, and fur-lined parkas.

I had the day off on Friday, and as any self-respecting masochistic New Yorker would do, I worked. Three loads of laundry, picking up mail from the old apartment and the shoes I’d had re-soled, scrubbing the bathroom, cleaning out the pantry, and gathering up the energy for a trip to the post office. The post office is unfortunate, like a theme park without any fun at the end of the lines. And in Bushwick, the post offices are especially bad. At my old Bushwick post office, I used to put aside an hour for a trip, because no matter how many people were in line – fifteen or five – the wait was one hour. Always. One hour.

So a trip to the post office requires reserves of zen-like patience and at least one and a half good books.

I gathered my packages. I gathered my books and my patience and set out to find my new post office. As I passed the Jefferson stop, where the train was spitting out commuters lucky enough to come home before 11:30 at night when the train would just. stop. running, I paused at the rich, charred smell of barbequing meat. By the stop was a woman with a portable grill, searing kebabs in a haze of smoke. I’ll treat myself to a kebab if she’s still there when I leave the post office, I thought.

Here is the second most wonderful part of my story:  it took me ten minutes to complete my errand to the post office. There was no line, there was plenty of light, and my new post office lady was a little less surly than my last post office lady. I didn’t even open my one and a half books.

The sun shone brightly outside and I quickened my pace at the thought of a forthcoming kebab, no longer a reward for myself, but a reward for the post office for being so efficient. I would eat this kebab for the post office.

This is the most wonderful part of my story: for two dollars and fifty cents, I bought happiness. Sweet, smoky pork drizzled with barbeque sauce and a thick slice of white bread wrapped up in a dazzling piece of aluminum foil. The last piece of summer in my hand. I ate it and internalized it, so that when my sidewalks are frozen and my hands are too numb to take my metro card out of my wallet, I can remember that here on this corner was summer and soon, soon, soon, will be summer again.


  1. Grandma says:

    It made me want to hurry to New York to enjoy the fall and the street vendors. Ummmm. I feel as if I took the trip with you, and actually I did part of the time thanks to cell phones. You should consider a career in food writing. :)

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